Mysteries of Tbilisi: a city where unusual people live in unusual houses

I don’t know how it all happened. After all, a lot of time has passed. And I still love walks in Tiflis and will not give up my love to anyone.

And I have not five, but many more reasons for this. But in order not to tire the reader, I will name only one – I like to solve puzzles.

Solving the history of each house is akin to solving crossword puzzles. By the way, you know the old name of the street, and the first owner of the house is also known. But here’s the devil, the numbering from the 19th century to the present day has changed more than once. And to determine which of the two houses under the same numbering is the creation of a famous architect is like guessing a crossword word.

But the letters inscribed horizontally may not converge with those already known vertically. In general, this is an interesting work, exciting. And such a light lights up inside, such rejoicing finds when you understand – this is it, eureka, found it!

Historical rebus

This time I guessed what kind of house it was on Gerontiya Kikodze Street, in the Sololaki area. This street, in fairness, it must be said, consists entirely of precious stones scattered on it – houses. And they start from the very beginning of the street.

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The street is very busy

This time I was heading to house number three. I knew about it that it was built by the famous Tbilisi architect Alexander Ozerov. Only when I was there, I suddenly discovered that there are two houses under this number. I looked closely at the house in the first issue – a handsome man. And next to him there is a no less attractive comrade and already under the third number. And on both houses the same mascarons. I looked into a reference book for the 19th century and found information that the Gupaspov brothers lived in the first issue on Paskevich Street. Finally, doubts were dispelled after a conversation with a local resident.

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Facade of a house built by architect A. Ozerov

– These two houses have been number one all their lives. And now, for some reason, one of them was given the third number, – said my interlocutor.

So to the question why the two houses have the same stucco molding, the answer was finally found. They belonged to brothers and were considered one house at number one. Well, the next one, with the original architecture, is exactly the same “Ozerovsky”. It has a neat facade and a different interior decoration from the rest. And, an interesting thing, despite the deplorable state of the facade, from the inside it is in a rather bearable condition.

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Mikaridze

The rest of the ceiling was apparently dealt with by time and residents.

Kikodjo Street is quite narrow and busy. The distance between sidewalks is measured from a force of four steps. Therefore, pedestrians from opposite sides can talk to each other without even raising their voices.

And while I was clicking the camera shutter, a man was staring at me from the opposite side. Tall, slightly overweight, with large and heavy features. Then I crossed the street and approached him. It turned out that he lives in the house of interest to me.

– Nadir, – a new acquaintance introduces himself, weighing a buffoonish curtsy.

“You have an unusual name,” I smile back at him.

“So it means“ unusual ”in translation from the Azerbaijani language,” the man says.

An unusual person was born and raised in this unusual house. He says that he found the son of the owner of the house by the name of Makarov. He was a physician by profession, like his father and grandfather. After the revolution, they retained a small room, as you enter the courtyard, to the right. No murals have survived in the house, but a couple of apartments have fireplaces. It’s just not possible to shoot them on camera. One of them is in the apartment of a friend of Nadir Kotik (as he calls the son of the former deputy of parliament Elene Tevdoradze), and the second is in another family.

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The front entrance is light

“But you won’t be able to get into these apartments. The cat is in quarantine, he has a covid, and there is no second family in Georgia … In general, we had a rather interesting yard. Today people live somehow separately. And then they lived as one family. But from the old neighbors almost no one remained.

Corkscrew to the sky

At a slow pace we enter a small but cozy courtyard. To our left is a spiral staircase. How many of these corkscrews are in the courtyards of Tbilisi …

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And this is the corkscrew for which Tbilisi is so famous

Much has changed in the appearance of the courtyard in recent years, says Nadir. For example, verandas were glazed, another, fourth floor was built on, which, by the way, is invisible from the street.

– And here lived a wonderful family, – Nadir points to the windows on the first floor to the right. – The father of the family – Vakhtang Gachechiladze – was the chairman of the society of the blind. The family was very intelligent. I do not know for what merits they loved me as a child. The head of the family would often open the door and invite them inside. He put his hand on his shoulder and called his wife Nelly. And he entrusted us, children, with her concerns. Moreover, if my name was called, then the whole gang of the yard, and this is at least five people, also came to visit.

A vase with sweets, fruits and everything that is so dear to children was growing on the table. At the same time, playing in the yard, we used the wall of their house as a football goal. And have never heard reproaches or discontent in their address.

Then, from childhood memories, we migrated with Nadir to the present.

His work book, as Nadir says, is a guide to the city of Tbilisi. The fish is looking for where it is deeper, and where the man is better. It so happened that he worked for two or three months in one enterprise, and then he was offered something better and he left. By profession, he is a military man, a former officer of the armed forces of the USSR.

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– But I had to live somehow and I went to work at the Lukoil filling network, then went to the Sokar company, I thought they would be hired as “my own” Azerbaijani. And he “attached”, or rather, hired a Georgian. In general, I have a rich track record, – smiles Nadir.

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“And yet Tbilisi is a city where unusual people live,” I notice to myself. Well tell me, please, where, in what city on earth will a person tell the first story of his life he comes across?

Nadir said that he lives alone in this house.

– And what about the children? – I asked him.

– In order for them to appear, you must at least get married. And I am not adapted to this. – Then, apparently, thinking about whether to talk about it, he continued. – Himself to blame for everything … I have a son, he will now be somewhere under 50. He lives in Belarus. But we have no connection with him. He came earlier, stayed with me. I kept persuading him to move to Georgia. And he replied that he could not leave his mother alone.

Then I began to explain to him that as soon as he arrived, she would follow him, and our family would be reunited. But my persuasion had no effect. I told him, come over, don’t make me call you. Know that this is your home and it is always open. I served in the army then. And then there was a war in Abkhazia, I went to fight, was wounded. My leg was cut. Of course, this is not an excuse. My leg was injured, not my head … – then Nadir pauses. – But for some reason I didn’t call, didn’t ask. And he did not get in touch.

The fate of an unusual person

Then Nadir himself, without prompting, returns to this topic.

– I had another boy, though it was the child of my second wife. But I raised him as mine, made no distinctions. We had relations with him in such a way that he asked me to translate, he said, me into his own surname, Azerbaijani. And I answered him, why do you need this, bear your own surname – Georgian. We were friends with him and lived in perfect harmony.

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Mikaridze

Apparently the house had two front doors. But over time, one of them ceased to function.

Only once did I hurt him. And it happened like this. My wife and I went to a fabric store, the one that was on the corner of Kirov. It was a big shop with very good haberdashery products. I tell my wife, you buy what you need, and I will stand outside and smoke. After a couple of minutes, she calls me. Nadir, come in, I looked at the cut for the trousers. I tell her, listen, I didn’t wear a suit for the wedding, and you want to dress me up in it now. No, buy it and that’s it, you will sew trousers. In general, I gave in to female stubbornness.

We returned home. We unfolded the fabric, we are considering. I saw our boy became sad somehow. Crumples around this piece of fabric, peers. As it turned out later, it turns out that he wanted pants made of the same material. He wanted to be like me, do like me, and much more.

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Mikaridze

From the inside, he is generally some kind of ascetic

He was a good boy, and he was at home, he did not like to run outside. He read more, watch TV. Seeing how he pouted, I called him over to me and said: listen, I’ll give you money now, you’ll go to Kirov Street, go to the saleswoman and explain what kind of fabric you need. He refused to go, saying that his mother would scold him if he did that. To which I told him, you go to the store, buy material, and I take this heavy artillery on myself. And he ran to the store.

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Mikaridze

We go into the yard

Well, in the end, he and I, a 13-year-old boy, wore the same trousers. His mother and I parted, and he was already an adult man often stopped by. He had to follow this street to work. And if I was standing on the street, then I would definitely stop, talk to me and continue on my way. From the age of six to 15 I raised him and to my credit I must say that I raised him well.

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Mikaridze

These are the kind of doors

We go out with Nadir from the yard to a busy street. And I ask him how he, a lonely and already middle-aged person, is living today.

“It’s hard to live,” sighs Nadir. “You yourself probably know how much a kilogram of sugar costs in a store. My sister supports me. Prepare food, and I go to her, take it. Then Nadir points to an underground hatch on the carriageway of a narrow street.

– It somehow turned out to be open, and as boys we went down into it. We walked along it decently, it is long. In general, childhood is the most wonderful time … – he says thoughtfully.

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